Feral goat

Feral goats are found across Australia, except on the mainland of the Northern Territory (NT). 

In the 1980s and early 1990s groups of wild goats were removed from north and north-east of Alice Springs.

Feral goats are still found on some offshore islands including North East, North Goulburn, Truant and Vanderlin.

Impact

Feral goats are a major environmental and agricultural pest. 

They are hardy animals and can increase their numbers by over 50% each year.

They compete with domestic stock for food and cause land degradation through soil damage, overgrazing and strip-browsing. 

Trampling by feral goats breaks up the soil's crust and protective cover of vegetation.

If feral goat numbers are not managed, they can cause large losses of biodiversity. Woody and non-woody native plants have difficulty maintaining population numbers with goats. 

Island habitats are particularly vulnerable to feral goats.

Management

Mustering and trapping are used to catch goats for the meat trade. 

Management of small herds or those in dense and rough landscape need aerial or ground shooting. The use of judas goats - goats equipped with radio tracking collars - can make these techniques more effective.

Dingoes are a good biocontrol option as goats are easy prey for dingoes and do not usually survive in dingo territories.

Last updated: 27 June 2017